I have found several of your viewpoints have helped me to stop feeling like everything is hard and to enjoy the challenge of frugality. I too now try to approach life with the view 'I'm beating the system". I am watching how this happens as a part of a continuum rather than a one off instant change.
Once I started applying 'I'm beating the system" to my life i quickly realized how often i get conned/con myself into spending money...because it makes me feel better....magazines as an escape from the treadmill....all crap unreality lives and advertising. So I stopped buying them and started to borrow them from the library. A magazine while I had a coffee break. Then I started to analyse the magazines....so many ads for high consumer style lives. One magazine had an article listed on the front; it turned out to be the only thing I wanted to read in the magazine and it was so small that when I went through page by page (viewing ad after ad) I missed it. But what I noticed by the time I came to the end of the magazine was a feeling of discontent and dis-ease...brought on by the comparison of my "small but content" life style to the consumer lifestyle.
Even the alternative lifestyle mags so often seem to push a fanciful reality while making do. I guess I'm trying to say that what I really appreciate about what you are doing is showing real life and what it is like to live a good life with few financial resources well used.
I love that you list the things you find..to me that is the reality of how small things are acummulated and are actually important if we allow them to be. I saw a curtain hook on the path today and it wasn't till I got home that I thought, I should have picked that up as I am about to double up my curtains, as you suggested, and I'll need some. The idea that something so small is not important is very damaging to our lives and world...for the earth those unused resources become a burden of waste and replication.
I had a score today as I dropped off an unused item to our local community resource centre and because I popped in I heard that there was a sale, a $2 sale - fill a bag with as much clothing as you wanted.
I had been looking for a bra in my size and had found about 7 in great condition, right size but was trying to tell myself not to spent too much and to hope that next time I need them they will still be there. No need.
Was told about the special so in the bag they went with some new knickers, a winter jersey, a black tee shirt, a flannette shirt, an exercise top, a black work top...all for $2....and as I was walking they had a box of donated buns and loaves...I restrained myself and took only a pack of pita bread as it was perfect for our tea tonight. I left feeling so pleased. Then was checking out Freecycle tonight (and putting on an offering) and have managed to get a new watch and a pile of necklaces that my flatmate loves working with to make new bracelets...all free too!
I love the way she is now 'beating the system,' after realizing that it isn't hard after all to lead a frugal life. Now she realizes that advertising is a con, business wants your money and they will do anything to get it. Setting yourself a challenge to live within your means can be fun. Spending money to make yourself feel better is a quick fix and has no long term effects except to roller coaster your life in and out of debt. You run to catch up, then you stumble and fall behind. Like yo yo dieting, it isn't the solution.
Marigold has embraced the second hand and freebie way of acquiring things that you need or want. Even small things that come your way are a bonus when they are free. It also means that sharing your excess with friends means they will share with you. We don't own anything while we are here on this planet, we borrow it for the duration of our stay. We can't take it with us so why not pass things on while we are still alive. Greed and the need for more is like a cancer which eats away at the soul. Being happy with what you have brings about a feeling of utter contentment. Being able to say, I have enough, takes away all insecurities and anxiety. I have lost account of how many times people have said to me, 'you could make more and sell them'. I don't need any more money, I have enough. I will take some left over shopping bags to Tesco tonight and surprise people with a freebie. That will be fun.
Marigold wrote a very long email, this is only part of it. I will post more tomorrow, and maybe you will find some inspiration from her. Thanks for popping in, we'll catch up soon.